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For a brief moment in the late 2010s, Netflix was poised to fully revitalize the romantic comedy genre. With exits like Set it up and Always be my maybethe dying genre was revived by the streaming giant. Netflix has had a few issues since then, but their latest original film, starring Victoria Justice as the wine importer, is a return to the promise of a few years ago. Does A perfect pairing live up to the high standard of its predecessors?

The essentials: Lola Alvarez (Victoria Justice) is the star saleswoman at her cutthroat wine importing company in LA and aspires to the title of Regional Sales Director. But after her best friend steals her proposed Australian client and her boss thinks the move is fair, Lola angrily quits and decides to open her own outfit. The only problem is that she has no customers. In a leap of faith, she ventures Down Under to the celebrity-owned Vaughn Family Wines, where she tries to convince the owner by toiling away on her farm. While there, she befriends Max (Adam Demos), the quietly brooding and extremely handsome ranch hand who hides his own secrets. When Lola uncovers Max’s secrets, she must make a decision about her personal and professional life.

A PERFECT PAIRING WITH NETFLIX FILM
Photo: Courtesy of Netflix

What will it remind you of?: A perfect pairing has all the classic elements of a rom-com: a fish-out-of-water story, two opposites that attract, and a very lush, beautiful setting. It will remind you of love movies at work like The application or Beauty and the Briefcase.

Notable performance: This is the Victoria Justice film and we are all here just to witness it. Charming and funny, she is able to create chemistry with Adam Demos, who plays Max in a very straight-forward way.

Memorable dialogue: Lola and Max’s flirtation is a bit slow, but the first seeds are sown when Max offers this inspirational quote as a gesture of his appreciation: “When it comes to hard work, some roll up their sleeves, some roll up their noses, and some don’t show up at all. You showed up and didn’t wrinkle your nose. That’s worth a lot in my book.”

gender and skin: For a 21st-century rom-com, the film is surprisingly not daring, save for a few shirtless scenes from demos.

Our opinion: There is nothing groundbreaking A perfect pairing. It’s a formulaic workplace rom-com centered on a charismatic young star, and the ending comes as little to no surprise. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t still fun – in fact, it’s the perfect film to watch after you’ve poured yourself some wine and just want to curl up on your sofa after a long week.

The biggest attraction for the film is Victoria Justice, who was previously a real Nickelodeon star, thanks victorious. Here she reinvents herself as an energetic high achiever and divorcee not really looking for love. When she arrives in the middle of nowhere in Australia and has to jump in at the deep end of the handicraft, she does so without worrying about soiling her clothes or chipping a nail. It’s a realistic portrait of a modern woman who would do anything to achieve her career goals and knows how to use her charisma to persuade people, and Justice rises to the occasion.

Where the film falls a bit flat is her chemistry with Australian actor Adam Demos, who plays her love interest Max. To be fair, Max is written as a brooding rancher who keeps his secrets close to his chest. But even in her teasing moments (of which there are many!) Justice feels a lot more natural and enjoyable than Demos.

As is necessary for these films, a conflict arises after they finally open up and share their true feelings. But her gap feels extremely forced. Max is finally coming to terms with the secrets he’s been hiding, and Lola is upset that he lied about his true identity, despite several attempts to tell her and her energy as the main character didn’t allow him to express himself to speak up. The saving grace is that Lola later realizes that her anger doesn’t stem from his lie, it stems from his to need lying, suggesting that he has a lot of work to do on himself before he’s ready for a relationship.

As a bonus for fans of 2010s indie rock, the soundtrack will be a welcome stroll down memory lane. Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros’ “Home” plays a large part in the central romance, and the soundtrack is heavily laden with many other nostalgic tracks reminiscent of the heyday of rom-com and set the tone for the film.

Will this film change lives or rock a genre? no But will it be entertaining? I feel safe saying yes.

Our appeal: Stream it. Although some of the conflict is fictional, it’s a fun watch for those looking for a light film.

Radhika Menon (@menonrad) is a television-obsessed writer based in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared on Vulture, Teen Vogue, Paste Magazine, and more. She can always think about Friday Night Lights, the University of Michigan, and the perfect slice of pizza. You can call them Rad.

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